Arkham Anarchy or how Jared Leto’s Suicide Squad Joker “Broke the Internet”

As predicted, on or before the Joker’s 75th anniversary, Zack Snyder previewed the first officially sanctioned image of Jared Leto as the Joker from the upcoming Suicide Squad movie. Naturally, since it wasn’t the purple-suited, pale skinned psychopath we’re all so used to….the internet collectively freaked out. Nerds everywhere were up in arms, comic book store owners claimed it was the “end of days”. somewhere in Columbus, OH a man made toast in a toaster; it was very much like any other day when a teaser image gets leaked to the internet. But why? Why freak out about a movie that hasn’t even been filmed yet?

Who knows to be honest. But, I’m easy to get on board with a new design. This isn’t your daddy’s Joker, a Caesar Romero with an unshaven mustache in heavy white make up parading around in a magenta suit. This isn’t your childhood Joker, whether that is the older and energetic sociopath Jack Nicholson or the slick animated Crown Prince of Crime voiced by the irreplaceable Mark Hamill. This isn’t even the disheveled criminal mastermind that the late Heath Ledger brought to life before his untimely demise. This is a different Joker for a new world. A meaner, unhinged, physically fit criminal who looks like he’s spent a decent amount of time behind bars from the looks of the tattoos and the lean muscle structure.

At first, admittedly, I was apprehensive. A tattooed Joker? With a mouth full of dirty, metal capped teeth? Is he a Juggalo? Is he an other worldly mixture of Eminem, Marilyn Manson, and Paul Wall? What would that album sound like? Maybe the tattoos are just for an upcoming photo shoot and won’t be worked into the movie? What’s up with the one rubber glove? Is someone getting their prostate checked? I was filled with questions, but this is how I learned to give in and end up loving the design.

I don’t want to see a Joker I already know. Unless it’s Jack Nicholson reprising his role as an older Joker I don’t need to see Jack Napier or Joe Chill or the unnamed Red Hood become the dapper criminal clown. Just like every damn reiteration of Spiderman, Superman, and Batman doesn’t need to tell me his origin again. I’m not five and even a five year old knows how these heroes became the costumed vigilantes they love. You are wasting valuable time in an action movie showing me everyone’s parents tragic deaths. Move on! I want to see something I don’t know. That’s what made Heath Ledger’s Joker an enigma, you didn’t get a back story. He showed up, fucked shit up, and left a trail of death and destruction in only the way a real psychotic could. He had a different “back story” every time he was going to stab someone with the “How’d I get these scars” explanation, but that was mostly to mess with his intended victims. To draw the attention off the blade and for him to get the full enjoyment of seeing someone’s eyes as he drove the knife in for the kill.

That and he burned Mr Lao alive. Pretty much everyone forgot about that.

People freaked out about pretty much every casting decision in a super hero movie since there was such a thing as sneak preview images. All the way back to Starlog magazines (there, I did it, I dated myself) people have been getting the “butt hurt feels” when teaser images got released. I used to think it was worse than before till someone who owned a comic book store explained that it’s really no different, social media has given everyone a soapbox to stand on and issue an ALL CAPS RAGE. I already have a predisposition to like things people don’t like, something about being a fan in a smaller group than 1 fan in 1 million. I like this design, I think Jared Leto will do the cinematic universe proper justice with a spot-on Joker that more accurately represents the world we live in now. This is a Joker who is going to be taking on the Suicide Squad or joining them in arms…..or both because the Joker plays by his own rules. Everyone in the movie is supposed to be imprisoned and offered clemency for their crimes in exchange for participation.

The design:

Massive amount of tattoos: while it intrigues me it’s also confusing. You might think if the Joker has been locked up for many years, that might explain the tattoos. But the Joker is too dangerous to be out in the general population and wouldn’t be able to get any prison ink. Anyways, trying to explain it set aside, I like the addition of the tattoos. I’m not sure I’m thrilled by the “damaged” tattoo on the forehead. It’s a little distracting but I can hang.

Physique: Lean muscular build. If he’s in jail, not much to do outside of eat your 3 hot meals and sleep in a cot. Might as well hit the gym or the exercise yard. He’s looking physically fit and ready to brawl. Able to hold his own for sure.

Teeth: dental work definitely done. If you’ve read any of the more modern comic books with a Batman vs Joker fight, the clown prince is usually shy a few teeth by the end. So, it’s definitely showing we are dealing with a Joker that’s been around the block. I’m great with this, the teeth look kind of nasty and unkept.

One purple glove: right hand. Certainly the hand that he would be using a knife in, wouldn’t want to get any blood or bodily fluids on him. Might make for an interesting nervous tick having him be a little bit of a OCD like Howie Mandel.

pinky ring: not sure. Can’t zoom in and focus on the ring enough to make out if it’s got a unique design. Anyways, should end up being interesting when they explain it.

Pale skin / green hair: if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.

and for a little fun

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Raging Nerdgasm #322 – DC The New Batman Adventures figure

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Batman from Kenner

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Batman from Kenner. Check out our flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ragingnerdgasm/sets/72157630964319444/

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The Brave and the Bold Joker

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The Brave and the Bold Joker. Check out our flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ragingnerdgasm/sets/72157630939181430/

Batman Unlimited: The Dark Knight Returns Batman by Mattel

 

Batman Unlimited has been an interesting line from the seemingly flailing Mattel DC Universe series. Admittedly the DC Universe 6 inch figures were doing very well from what I could tell. Figures were flying off the shelves and seemed like they were out with a new series every few months. The beginning of the end was the Matty Collector DC Club Infinite Earths subscription. Same price per figure in the store plus shipping and no build-a-figure piece. Granted the line did produce a Metron with his chair and Monsieur Mallah with the Brain but we also got a weak Golden Age Flash and pathetic Poison Ivy. Anyways, with DC Universe being a thing of the past and Club Infinite Earths on the verge of being shut down, Mattel produced the Batman Unlimited series to keep fans involved till the ’66 Batman classics line hits shelves later this summer.

 

Through the Batman Unlimited line we’ve gotten some stellar figures. A pretty good line up of Injustice: God’s Among Us video game based figures, “Kenner Super Powers” influenced Penguin, Planet X Batman and Earth 43 Batman (Crimson Mist Vampire). But the stand out figure from the line is by far the Dark Knight Returns Batman. I’ll be the first to admit I love the sculpting on most of the DC Direct figures but sometimes the play value suffers from the lack of articulation. The newer Batman: Arkham City figures from DC Direct and some of the larger “Deluxe” figures are sporting more impressive articulation though so don’t count them out yet. The Dark Knight Returns Batman though was a figure people were speculating on for a while now, especially with the fact DC and Masters of the Universe are shared brands of Mattel. The over-muscular body of the He-Man figures lends itself very well to the aging Bruce Wayne from my favorite Frank Miller Batman book.

 

The Mattel Dark Knight Rises Batman sports your average Masters of the Universe Classics articulation (swivel/pivot at the neck, shoulders and hips. swivel at the waist, wrists and top of the bicep and pivot at the ankles, knees and elbows.) The sculpt is from none other than Mattel’s go to guys for epic toys, the Four Horsemen. It’s apparent all over the figure from the detail on the utility belt, folds in the costume’s gloves, the top scallop of the boots and Batman’s grim and grissled expression. The figure comes packaged with a lonely batarang but for a series that’s usually devoid of accessories it’s an OK throw in.

 

There’s only a few complaints in my mind. The cape is made of a softer plastic / vinyl but it has such a stiff look to it. The cape does not retain any poses, it looks like Alfred over starched when doing the laundry. The batarang is just this thin sliver of bat-shaped plastic that is just kind of lost in Batman’s giant hands. Not sure what could have been done to make it better but it just feels like the figure could have done without the batarang altogether. My last complaint is with the bat symbol on his chest. I know it costs more to put additional sculpting on a figure but I was hoping for the bat symbol to be raised or have some kind of relief to it. My complaints are small and damn near unnoticeable, all in all I give the figure a solid 4 1/2 stars. Don’t hesitate grabbing this figure, it’s available for decent prices on Amazon and Big Bad Toy Store (roughly $18 and that’s not bad considering it’s $15 at
retail).

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DC Direct Solomon Grundy from Arkham Asylum

Normally I don’t buy DC Direct figures. I can appreciate the time and effort that goes into a sculpt and the precision of the paint applications, I can even admire the fact they’ll tackle a non-mainstream character the fans are asking for but it’s not my cup of tea. I’m not much for newer figures, my real passion is older figures from the 80s and 90s but every so often a newer toy grabs my attention. For instance, the PlayArts Kai figures are fantastic and I could go broke two times over buying all the NECA figures I like. Hell, sometimes I even go all in on Marvel Select figures that appeal to me. I’m also a reviewer that believes in giving credit where credit is due and shaming other toy lines for producing crappy figures (Jazwares and Mattel, I’m looking at you). Needless to say, a trip to my local comic shop (Heroes’ Haven) introduced me to a figure I had no idea I wanted until I saw it for myself.

(more pictures here)

I have a good relationship with my local comic shop, they reblog my stuff and I reblog theirs. Toys especially; PlayArts, DC Direct, Marvel Select, MAFEX, Hot Toys, ETC. Wednesday being new release day had some interesting stuff, restocks on PlayArts Kai Dark Knight Returns Batman and Robin from Arkham City, newly released DC Direct 3 3/4 inch two packs, PlayArts Kai Poison Ivy and DC Direct Solomon Grundy. In the Twitter picture Grundy just looked like an 8 inch figure, nothing impressive. But I’ll be damned if that figure wasn’t 13 inches tall and weighed as much as a cinder block (maybe a couple of bricks, it’s heavy as something I’m no scientist)! DC Direct had gotten some shit for shoddy craftsmanship on Titan Joker and Killer Croc, both figures were known for falling apart just minutes after getting them out of the package. Worst thing about buying these figures, you have little to no recourse getting a replacement or a swap out. Some comic shops function on no returns or Flying Spaghetti Monster help you if you picked it up at a convention and have to deal with DC Direct directly. They made good on quite a few replacements but even those replacements were plagued with the same issues. But, this figure is a solid hunk of plastic, so that means it’s sturdier right?

(even more pictures here)

Solomon Grundy stands an impressive and intimidating 13 inches tall from the bottoms of his rotten feet to the top his grungy hair. Holding the figure is really pleasing, the figure retails for $90 and he’s heavier than a gallon of milk and solid as a brick. The joints ratchet into place which is seriously important because he’s definitely a little top heavy. The paint job is perfect, it’s dead on to his video game counterpart. Best part of the paint job is the eyes, they really captured that undead marbled glaze to his eyeballs. Just like in the video game, Grundy has a removable chest piece revealing a very grossly accurate reproduction of Grundy’s guts. The entire chest cavity has a great sickly red sheen to it and great shading showing off the heart and other organs exposed. For a $90 figure I’m rating this figure at a solid 8.5 to 9 out of 10. I usually don’t feel expensive figures need a review, either I think they are overpriced or like a Hot Toys figure they sell themselves but this was the exception for sure. If your interested in picking up this big bastard, hit up your local comic shops, I don’t think he’s going to hang around for long.

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